26 February 2009 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has dispatched a senior United Nations political aide to Madagascar, following a request from the Government for a more active role by the world body in dealing with the political tensions in the Indian Ocean island nation.
Assistant Secretary-General Haile Menkerios, who had been sent to Madagascar in early February to assess the situation, was travelling with Mr. Ban in Africa when he was asked to return to the country to continue the UN’s good offices work there.
President Marc Ravalomanana and the Mayor of the capital, Anatananarivo, Andry Rajoelina, declared earlier this month that they are committed to start a United Nations-facilitated dialogue and to resolve their differences peacefully. Close to 100 people were killed and many more injured in violence that erupted several weeks ago amid their dispute.
Upon his arrival in Madagascar today, Mr. Menkerios met with Mr. Ravalomanana. He was also expected to meet with Mr. Rajoelina.
Last night, the Secretary-General met at the airport in Johannesburg with two government ministers from Madagascar, who asked for a more active UN role in dealing with the parties in the country.
Mr. Ban assured them that a mediator has been appointed who would arrive in Madagascar shortly, in addition to Mr. Menkerios.
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